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Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

Deported By Trump, Migrants Press Mexico for Support

Jose Luis Granados Ceja - Truthout
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July 20, 2018

Why Seeking Asylum in America Is So Difficult: America has led the world in refugee resettlement for 15 years, but asylum cases have pushed political tempers to a tipping point. (Vox)

Update: Mexico's AMLO: Rhetoric vs. Reality (Forbes)

Guillermo Contreras spent the last 12 years of his life living and working in the United States, but two months ago, as part of the broad crackdown on undocumented migrants by the Trump administration, he was deported and is now in Mexico City trying to rebuild his life.

Contreras – along with other supporters of Otros Dreams en Acción, a grassroots group that works to support people who have been deported or have returned from the US – demonstrated on July 13, 2018, outside a quaint house in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood that is serving as the office of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“López Obrador says he wants to change this system, so we’ve come to ask him, if this is true, that he work with the community of people who have been deported or have returned,” Contreras told Truthout.

The Mexican president-elect was meeting with a high-ranking delegation of US government officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and senior White House official Jared Kushner. Pompeo told a press conference that the courtesy visit by the US delegation was meant to show the “deep importance” of the US-Mexico relationship to US President Donald Trump. Representatives said they addressed key issues in the bilateral relationship, including security, trade, economic development and migration.

On the campaign trail, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO as he is commonly known, made a number of promises aimed at the community of Mexicans living abroad, as well as those who have been deported. Key among these was his proposal to stimulate economic development within Mexico in order to dissuade people from leaving the country for economic reasons.

Related: This Is How ICE Stops Journalists From Reporting on Detained Immigrants (Paste)

That proposal is music to the ears of the administration of US President Donald Trump, who has pursued a nationalistic domestic economic policy that has broken with the free-trade orthodoxy of recent years. But Trump also crafted a highly antagonistic relationship with Mexico and Mexicans, vilifying a country and its people in order to rally his far-right and xenophobic political base.

That antagonism, and more specifically the issue of migration, has largely defined the relationship between the United States and Mexico over the recent period. But political leaders in the United States and Mexico have indicated they are interested in treating the change in government in Mexico as an opportunity to repair that strained relationship.

However, in addition to stepping into a fraught relationship with Mexico’s most important trade partner, López Obrador has inherited a litany of problems, including a sluggish economy, record levels of violence and a human rights crisis.

Related: 'I'm Asking for Help': Mexico's Poor Petition Outside President-Elect's HQ (The Guardian)

“Those who left [Mexico] did not do so because they wanted to; they did so because [the Mexican government] abandoned the rural sector,” said Judith Meléndrez Bayardo, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, who also participated in the demonstration. “Because of violence, they are forced to go to the United States.”

Expectations are high, and though people like Contreras are hopeful, they understand that López Obrador faces a tall order.

Related: AMLO Party Fined For Giving Money To Earthquake Victims (TeleSur)

“The majority of migrants leave because of their economic situation,” Contreras told Truthout. “López Obrador won’t be able to turn the economy around in two years — it is impossible. People will continue to migrate, but they can create employment here so that people don’t need to do it.”

Meléndrez added, “If we are able to have dignified conditions for all Mexicans, I imagine that our compatriots will not have to leave — that is a change of opinion that is very important, to attend to the root causes [of why people leave].”

Related: Dispatches From Mexico’s Southern Border: Mexico: A Migrant Graveyard (The Lawfare Institute)

Related: Jeff Sessions Is Pushing Asylum Officers to Reject More Migrants. Will They Go Along? (Vox)

Related: Mexico Wrestles With Rising Immigrant Asylum Requests as U.S. Asks for More Help Stemming Flow North (Dallas News)

Related: Michael Coard: “Operation Wetback”: America's Worst Mass Deportation (PhillyTrib.com)

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